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MTN maintains top brand position in SA

By , Africa editor
South Africa , 10 Apr 2024
MTN Group CEO Ralph Mupita has been named by Brand Finance as the top ranked ‘Brand Guardian’ among South African CEOs.
MTN Group CEO Ralph Mupita has been named by Brand Finance as the top ranked ‘Brand Guardian’ among South African CEOs.

Pan-African telecom groups MTN maintained its position as South Africa's most valued brand, despite market volatility.

Brand Finance, a global brand valuation consultancy, released its annual report on the most valuable and powerful South African brands yesterday. MTN ranked as the most valuable, followed by Vodacom and Standard Bank.

MTN is the leading brand in South Africa's telecoms sector, according to Brand Finance, which also reported an eight percent fall in MTN brand value to $3.4 billion (R68.2 billion), due to currency volatility in Nigeria, its largest market.

MTN Group reported a significant reduction in earnings in its 2023 financial results, citing Nigerian currency volatility as a drag on the telco's profitability.

The vote of confidence in the brand of Africa's largest telco group comes as it has expedited its transformation over the previous 18 months.

The telco is restructuring its operational model, diversifying its revenue sources away from its traditional stronghold of voice communications, expanding into digital services, and proactively embracing fintech.

In the report, Brand Finance says: “MTN's position as the most valuable South African brand, even after experiencing an eight percent decrease in brand value to R68.2 billion is testament to its robust market presence and continued brand value.

“The telecom giant’s international presence in over 21 markets worldwide has enabled them to build a resilient global South African brand. This is demonstrated by Nigeria emerging as its largest market, not just in user base but also in revenue generation, surpassing its South African operations by nearly $1.6 billion (R30 billion).

“Despite these obstacles, MTN has maintained an impressive brand strength, and as the only telecommunication operator in the Top 10 with a brand strength index of 87 out of 100.”

For Vodacom, its brand value is up 10% this year to $2.3 billion (R43.9 billion) to emerge as the second most valuable South African brand.

According to Brand Finance: “The increase in brand value not only helps them retain second place in the rankings, but helps close the gap on their leading rival MTN.

“The relationship between Vodacom and its majority shareholder, the UK-based Vodafone, plays an important role in Vodacom's brand perception and market performance.”

The consultancy adds: “This association likely contributes to a halo effect, bolstering Vodacom's brand value through recognisability and trust. In terms of brand strength, Vodacom is ranked as the 14th strongest brand in South Africa, with a score of 86 out of 100.”

Jeremy Sampson, chairman, Brand Finance Africa, says: “Some head winds such as the strength of the US dollar are largely out of our direct control, a reason many African brands are seeing their value shrink.

“Declines in brand value due to external factors have not impacted on the strength of South Africa’s big brands.”

Commenting on the recognition, MTN Group president and CEO Ralph Mupita said:

“It is both encouraging and humbling that we retain our top spot after 30 years in the business and that – despite the significant macroeconomic challenges we are facing – our brand also has the strongest association to perceptions of sustainability.”

The report also named Mupita the top ranked ‘Brand Guardian’ among South African CEOs.

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